Warhammer Fest Preview Day 1: Age of Sigmar Roundtable

Warhammer Fest is fully online this year, but that means we all get to watch the reveals in real time, every day this week! Each day we’ll be having a round table to recap our very important hot takes. Yesterday’s reveal focused on Age of Sigmar related content and here are some of the Mortal Realms correspondent’s thoughts on the matter.

  • Alice “RagnarokAngel” Lirette
  • Kevin “Fowler” Fowler
  • Rafael “captainraffi” Cordero
  • Andrew “Kenji” Smith
  • Ben “Thundercloud” Rubery
  • Magos Sockbert
  • SRM
  • Mike “Ellarr” Chadderton

Credit: Games Workshop

Soulblight Gravelords Previews

If you missed the previews yesterday, you can find all the sick new models here.

Now we have the final reveals for Soulblight Gravelords and they’re coming this month! Where’s your hype level at? What are you most excited for overall?

RagnarokAngel: Legions of Nagash was my first love in Age of Sigmar but I’ve sort of shelved them in the past few years as they became steadily more obsolete. Soulblight Gravelords is the evolution of that army, and appears to be giving them a more solid identity as more than just a catch-all faction barely distinguishable from Grand Alliance Death. I can’t say any particular thing has caught my interest, but it’s going to be very hard on my purse to narrow down what I want! Between the new gorgeous Blood Knights and Dire Wolves and the flamboyant new Vampires I want it all and I’m happy to return to the lands of Shyish once again.

 

 

captainraffi: There are some incredible models in this line. I’m not one to run out and buy an army or jump headlong into a new release but damn if these aren’t tempting. Like Alice there isn’t any one particular model I’m into (though again, the Blood Knights), however I love that these look unlike anything else in the AoS Line. They’ve got an old school baroque look appropriate for the undead. They’re quite striking which makes them very tempting.

 

 

 

Fowler: I absolutely love all of these models, especially Lauka Vai. As a vampire-curious Nighthaunt player, growing the Death collection (or just diving into Gravelords) is extremely tempting. It seems like the disappearance of Cursed City means that the remainder of Ulfenkarn’s denizens will just be a la carte models. Definitely a shame, as I’ve just started playing and really enjoy it thus far.

 

 

 

Kenji: Frankly COVID has kinda killed my interest, time, and ability to do anything with the hobby, but I am absolutely on board to re-ignite that with the Soulblight army. I was kind of hoping for some new black knight models, and the lingering weird bad taste of Cursed City is a bummer, but Lauka Vai alone is all I needed. I will say that Radukar having those “feral” vampires on his base, but the only 3 models for that being in Cursed City, is kind of weird. Hope somehow the CC villains become available; I see a lot of great opportunities to make a flavorful FEC army by combining some of these new Soulblights into kitbashes (Give me Vargskyr!!! Please!!)

Thundercloud: Vampires continue to look awesome, as we see the last chunk of releases, the new centrepiece model, and find out that the only units not getting updates are Grave Guard, Plague Carts, Zombie Dragons, Foot Wight Kings and Black Knights, as there are new Dire Wolves (looking great) and the new Zombies, Skeletons and Blood Knights shown in previous reveals. 

We get Radukar Unleashed, with cool little vampire underlings that I’d love to have had as a separate unit, as they were in Cursed City. We get Radukar’s Grandma mounted on wolf with extra pet wolf. We get giant vampire attached to a giant vampire body with six limbs. 

What do I like? Everything except the giant vampire, which doesn’t really fit the aesthetic in the rest of the range. Dire Wolves were unexpected, as the previous plastics were ok, but the new ones look much more dynamic and better, and sculpted for the round bases not the old cavalry bases. 

I feel the Soulblight range is largely coherent, and the Vampire models from Underworlds add a lot to infantry character models. I’m hoping that the battletome lets you have a diverse range of infantry Vampire characters. 

I can’t think of a good reason why the Cursed City minis are available as a block, and having more little Vampire units like the Vargskyr or Undead Ogres would have been great. Even just thowing in rat and bat swarms would have been great.

Magos Sockbert: As someone who started a dedicated savings goal for Blood Knights when this faction was first teased, I’ve become steadily and sadly more disillusioned as the range has been revealed. There’s such a lack of coherency to what we’ve seen so far, and it’s amazingly top heavy; the book will have ten special characters, without a unifying theme across them. Lauka Vai and Vhordrai are Avengorii dynasty, the Blood Knights aesthetic, while Radukar the Wolf and the Beast and Belladamma Volga are the more bestial, wolfish Vrykos dynasty. We then have Annika the Thirsting Blade and Kritza the Rat Prince as more generic vampires, two vampiric mortarchs, and the god of death. 

So we’re seeing feral wolf vampires, generic vampires, knightly vampires, demigods and gods, and then ye olde skeletons and zombies of more traditional lore. It’s a bit of a disjointed release, thematically; they may work together super well on the tabletop, but I think I would’ve preferred it if they’d doubled down on feral or knightly vampires – you don’t really get enough of either kind to field a full, themed force, especially if you’re looking at a vampiric wolf hunt – nothing except Dire Wolves fits the same aesthetic.

Also, the fact that Radukar the Beast has the Vrykos Blood-born from Cursed City on his base, but you can’t get them in your army? Very strange.

SRM: A lot of these reveals felt to me like scrapped Cursed City concepts, or like expansion content that got ditched. Radukar the Beast and Grandma Mononoke both would have been pretty killer next-level bosses for Cursed City, but here they are as centerpiece characters. Regardless, the models whip ass, and I’m happy to see the venerable Dire Wolves kit replaced with something more feral, more realistically proportioned, and more realistically posed. Lauka Vai and the Vengorian Lord both feel like half of a vampire character jammed on top of ¾ of a Varghulf and feel a bit disjointed as a result. Lauka Vai looks more natural up there, but the generic vampire dude will look a lot better on a pair of good old fashioned bipedal legs, I imagine. 

Ellarr: I’m of two minds entirely when it comes to the Soulblight preview. To start off with positives, Soulblight has been something I have been eagerly anticipating for a long time (I fell in love with the Legion of Blood two years ago), and it had become a running joke in my playgroup that I would predict plastic Blood Knights and get inevitably disappointed. I am in love with the refresh of the core unit kits (i.e. skeletons, zombies, wolves and blood knights) – I think you can make a really striking core to an army now from those kits, and I think they evoke fantasy era Vampire Counts which is really exciting. On the other hand, the top end (i.e. the special characters) are a mixed bag that reminds me of what happened with Warcry and Slaves to Darkness – here’s a brick of units we modelled for one system transplanted onto another. Cursed City miniatures have a really visually distinct look, but I agree with Magos that I feel like they don’t sit terribly well with the rest of the range. A soulblight army is in my plans, but I think that other than Radukar the Beast I may use kitbashes for the rest of the special characters – just not a huge fan of them.

Soul Arena

A new mobile game, of which Age of Sigmar has seen quite a few. Not a lot to go on so far, any chance people might try it out?

RagnarokAngel: I’m going to be frank that Games Workshop has a real problem with it’s game division in the past few years. They put out some solid (Space Marine) to genre-defining (Dawn of War 1 and 2) games in the past but have always been very restrictive about their IP being used. Then recently they decided to swing the other way and just hand its IP out to any mobile game developer making something to steal my money. It’s pretty gross and I think they don’t see how much it damages the IP. I’m really hoping Storm Ground is good because it’s the only Age of Sigmar game that isn’t a cash grab.

 

 

captainraffi: Given how much their licensing arm brings in, I’m not sure it does damage the IP.

 

 

 

 

RagnarokAngel: Fair. Capitalism rocks.

 

 

 

 

Kenji: Do any of you play Raid? Because there is actually a chance this game is going to print money if it competes with (and is better than) Raid; Raid’s P2P strategy is very expensive, so if AoS Soul Arena can make it cheaper AND have the IP branding, it might do really well.

Fowler: Insert generic grumble, pan out to show me playing the Necromunda mobile game.

 

 

 

 

Thundercloud: Like Adam Troke in the stream, I struggle to care about this. Hopefully it isn’t as cash grabby as current mobile versions of this game (I think something called Raid that I skip through lots of youtubers talking about).

 

 

 

 

Magos Sockbert: You had me right up until I saw the art style.

SRM: I think it’s pretty telling that the guys who are literally paid to be enthusiastic about Warhammer could barely feign interest in this one. “You can play it on the bus, I guess” was a less-than-convincing endorsement. It looks like every third ___ of ___ game I get shoved in my face on Twitter. If it’s free I might download it and play while I’m, I dunno, waiting for my oil change? I’m so tired. 

 

Ellarr: I want more Age of Sigmar games out there, but I wish they came in forms other than mobile games! Excited for Storm Ground but come on guys, give the fans something a bit more meaningful than something they can play half asleep on the bus.

Broken Realms: Kragnos

This is the full reveal of Kragnos and we know this is the final book of Broken Realms. What new models that have been announced are you most excited about? What are your hopes or expectations for the book?

RagnarokAngel: I don’t play any of the armies that appear to be in Broken Realms: Kragnos so I’m not super focused on the models (although that Kragnos model fucks) but I am very excited to see the conclusion of the story. Broken Realms has shattered my expectations about what Games Workshop can and is willing to do with a campaign. There’s been real, conscious effort to properly build up events and allude to things that happen (rather than vague allusions that often aren’t spoken of for years, if at all). The authors need to be applauded for how the series has hashed out, big time. It’s been a huge, setting changing arc that is going to be hard to top and I can’t wait to see how it all comes to an end.

 

 

Fowler: I am here for Big Destruction. Kragnos looks awesome next to the Mega-Gargants. None of these new toys work with armies I have, but it’s exciting to see stuff like updated Kroak. The fluff in these books has been quality as well.

 

 

 

 

captainraffi: Boy howdy is that a model. I am continuously impressed by the large centerpiece models that Age of Sigmar gets. Thay have just been smashing it out of the park over in fantasy land while 40k gets like..another lieutenant or whatever. 

As far as the narrative goes, bring it on. Broken Realms makes Psychic Awakening look like My First Narrative event and again…what are you doing 40k players? Come join the excellent party in the Mortal Realms! There is cool shit over here.

 

 

 

Thundercloud: The end game content of AoS 2.0, instead of 1 kit per big lore/campaign book we are getting 4, including 3 giant monster/wizard throne kits and a couple of normal humans that everyone loves because it means someone has been doing work on Cities of Sigmar. 

I don’t particularly like the Kragnos model, but Kroak really hits the spot. 

When AoS was launched, did anyone think you’d end up with demigods hitting the table to pull down cities?

I think the Soulblight will be a multi-week release, shortly followed by the Kragnos book and minis, and then we’ll get AoS 3.0 over the summer. Chaos were the big baddies in Aos 1, Death in AoS 2, and Destruction are shaping up to be the threat in Aos 3. Or maybe Sigmar just sucks at making friends. 

Magos Sockbert: Games Workshop has discovered a brand new source of renewable energy: the anguished cries of Sylvaneth and Beasts of Chaos Players!

Kragnos looks awesome, even his weird horns that kinda look like eyebrows, but I’m a little nervous about his rules. Ignoring spells with his shield is fine, I guess, but the nastiest spells in the game aren’t direct damage; just look at Lambent Light for those Lumineth losers. +1 bravery is even less inspiring, and I’m hoping he brings a bit of coherency to the Legion of the First Prince style Destruction army we see him with. More importantly though, we’re going to see an awesome end to the best narrative Games Workshop has put out since the passing of Alan Bligh and I am here for it.

Also, holy shit you guys they actually did it, they made a god of hero rocks.

SRM: Kragnos is a fuckin’ banger of a model, as befits his status as a literal god of earthquakes.  It’s cool that there’s a god-level model for Destruction now, and the studio paintjob on him is absolutely killer. I think I’d been missing something or assuming a Kurnothi connection since there could only be so many centaurs in Age of Sigmar, or so I thought.I look forward to him completely owning my armies of pyjama-clad flintlock dipshits and platemailed angry bois in the coming years. 

 

 

 

Ellarr: I love the idea of having a destruction god character, and I think thematically Kragnos is a slam dunk – here’s a calculated but savage elder beast that wants to tear down the realms that sealed him away. That said, I’m somewhat disappointed in how Kragnos visually sits within the wider Destruction Grand Alliance – he looks more at home in a Beasts of Chaos army than anything going on in Destruction! The image of him standing above a wide variety of Destruction units made it especially apparent how disparate Destruction is, which is thematically appropriate but makes for a rather visually chaotic image that doesn’t inspire the hobbyist in me.

ellAs for Broken Realms on a wider scale – I love it, give me more of this style of storytelling and truly embrace this evolving, fluid setting that they’ve created. It would break my heart if with 3.0 we go back to a largely static story, as I love seeing all these influential and powerful characters interact and clash in interesting ways.

 

Well that’s it for the Age of Sigmar preview! Don’t worry, later today (6 BST) is the first of two 40k previews and our round table will follow on Wednesday! See you then!

In the mean time, let us know what you thought of the Age of Sigmar preview? What were your favorite reveals? Let us know below or at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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